Thematic Bible




Thematic Bible





So the disciples decided to send relief, every one in proportion to his means, to the brethren living in Judaea. This they did, forwarding their contributions to the Elders by Barnabas and Saul.

But certain persons who had come down from Judaea tried to convince the brethren, saying, "Unless you are circumcised in accordance with the Mosaic custom, you cannot be saved." Between these new comers and Paul and Barnabas there was no little disagreement and controversy, until at last it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and some other brethren should go up to consult the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem on this matter. So they set out, being accompanied for a short distance by some other members of the Church; and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told the whole story of the conversion of the Gentiles and inspired all the brethren with great joy. read more.
Upon their arrival in Jerusalem they were cordially received by the Church, the Apostles, and the Elders; and they reported in detail all that God, working with them, had done. But certain men who had belonged to the sect of the Pharisees but were now believers, stood up in the assembly, and said, "Yes, Gentile believers ought to be circumcised and be ordered to keep the Law of Moses." Then the Apostles and Elders met to consider the matter; and after there had been a long discussion Peter rose to his feet. "It is within your own knowledge," he said, "that God originally made choice among you that from my lips the Gentiles were to hear the Message of the Good News, and believe. And God, who knows all hearts, gave His testimony in their favour by bestowing the Holy Spirit on them just as He did on us; and He made no difference between us and them, in that He cleansed their hearts by their faith. Now, therefore, why try an experiment upon God, by laying on the necks of these disciples a yoke which neither our forefathers nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that it is by the grace of the Lord Jesus that we, as well as they, shall be saved." Then the whole assembly remained silent while they listened to the statement made by Paul and Barnabas as to all the signs and marvels that God had done among the Gentiles through their instrumentality. When they had finished speaking, James said, "Brethren, listen to me. Symeon has related how God first looked graciously on the Gentiles to take from among them a People to be called by His name. And this is in harmony with the language of the Prophets, which says: "'"Afterwards I will return, and will rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will set it up again; In order that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord--even all the nations which are called by My name," Says the Lord, who has been making these things known from ages long past.' "My judgement, therefore, is against inflicting unexpected annoyance on those of the Gentiles who are turning to God. Yet let us send them written instructions to abstain from things polluted by connexion with idolatry, from fornication, from meat killed by strangling, and from blood. For Moses from the earliest times has had his preachers in every town, being read, as he is, Sabbath after Sabbath, in the various synagogues." Thereupon it was decided by the Apostles and Elders, with the approval of the whole Church, to choose suitable persons from among themselves and send them to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas. Judas, called Bar-sabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, were selected, and they took with them the following letter: "The Apostles and the elder brethren send greeting to the Gentile brethren throughout Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. As we have been informed that certain persons who have gone out from among us have disturbed you by their teaching and have unsettled your minds, without having received any such instructions from us; we have unanimously decided to select certain men and send them to you in company with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, who have endangered their very lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who are themselves bringing you the same message by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no burden heavier than these necessary requirements-- You must abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication. Keep yourselves clear of these things, and it will be well with you. Farewell." They, therefore, having been solemnly sent, came down to Antioch, where they called together the whole assembly and delivered the letter. The people read it, and were delighted with the comfort it brought them. And Judas and Silas, being themselves also Prophets, gave them a long and encouraging talk, and strengthened them in the faith. After spending some time there they received an affectionate farewell from the brethren to return to those who had sent them. No translation But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and, in company with many others, telling the Good News of the Lord's Message.



As they journeyed on from town to town, they handed to the brethren for their observance the decisions which had been arrived at by the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem. So the Churches went on gaining a stronger faith and growing in numbers from day to day.

From Miletus he sent to Ephesus for the Elders of the Church to come to him.

"Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has placed you to take the oversight for Him and act as shepherds to the Church of God, which He has bought with His own blood. I know that, when I am gone, cruel wolves will come among you and will not spare the flock; and that from among your own selves men will rise up who will seek with their perverse talk to draw away the disciples after them. read more.
Therefore be on the alert; and remember that, night and day, for three years, I never ceased admonishing every one, even with tears. "And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace. He is able to build you up and to give you your inheritance among His people.

On the following day we went with Paul to call on James, and all the Elders of the Church came also.

Let the Elders who perform their duties wisely and well be held worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You are not to muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain;" and the workman deserves his pay. Never entertain an accusation against an Elder except on the evidence of two of three witnesses.

I have left you behind in Crete in order that you may set right the things which still require attention, and appoint Elders in every town, as I directed you to do; wherever there is a man of blameless life, true to his one wife, having children who are themselves believers and are free from every reproach of profligacy or of stubborn self-will. For, as God's steward, a minister must be of blameless life, not over-fond of having his own way, not a man of a passionate temper nor a hard drinker, not given to blows nor greedy of gain, read more.
but hospitable to strangers, a lover of goodness, sober-minded, upright, saintly, self-controlled; holding fast to the faithful Message which he has received, so that he may be well qualified both to encourage others with sound teaching and to reply successfully to opponents.

For by it the saints of old won God's approval.

Is any one ill? Let him send for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, after anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will restore the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up to health; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven.

So I exhort the Elders among you--I who am their fellow Elder and have been an eye-witness of the sufferings of the Christ, and am also a sharer in the glory which is soon to be revealed. Be shepherds of God's flock which is among you. Exercise the oversight not reluctantly but eagerly, in accordance with the will of God; not for base gain but with cheerful minds; not lording it over your Churches but proving yourselves patterns for the flock to imitate. read more.
And then, when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the never-withering wreath of glory. In the same way you younger men must submit to your elders; and all of you must gird yourselves with humility towards one another, for God sets Himself against the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

The Elder to the elect lady and her children. Truly I love you all, and not I alone, but also all who know the truth,

The Elder to his dear friend Gaius. Truly I love you.




The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, and said, "'Sir, it was five talents that you entrusted to me: see, I have gained five more.'






These men they brought to the Apostles, and, after prayer, they laid their hands upon them.








These men they brought to the Apostles, and, after prayer, they laid their hands upon them.



These men they brought to the Apostles, and, after prayer, they laid their hands upon them.